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Just a Little Bit of History Repeating

By Wethersfield Historical Society on September 5, 2011 1:51 PM

Like the original opening of the Mill Woods swimming area, two other major changes to the park came about, at least partially, due to "public demand" - and public initiative.
The Wethersfield Skate Park opened at Mill Woods in November 2005 with a brief ceremony and ribbon cutting.  About fifty skaters showed up to try out the new facilities.  

The facility was recommended as part of the 2001 Improvement Plan. A committee of Wethersfield High School and college students chaired by 18 year-old Matt Zawadski worked for one and one-half years with the assistance of several town employee advisors to bring the facility into existence.  The group designed the park, hired the architect and contractor, and raised $165,000 through a combination of state and Hartford Foundation grants, fundraising activities, and contributions from local businesses.    

Ten months later The Hartford Courant reported, "Dogs and their owners are checking out the new dog park at Mill Woods Park, even though the park doesn't officially open until early October.

"'People are bringing their dogs, hanging out there on weekends,' said Don Griswold with the Wethersfield Dog Park Committee, which has since November 2005 raised more than $33,000 to build the park for dogs to run off-leash."
The one-acre site was another cooperative effort between the committee and the town.  The town donated the land, cleared the brush, covered the area with wood chips and agreed to pay for refuse collection.  This committee likewise raised the money and designed the park.  In 2011 the facility was selected "Best Dog Park" by the readers of the Hartford Advocate newspaper.    

Yet - even with all the changes - the wood dales, ponds and brooks endure.  In the 2001 Master Plan the Shade Tree Commission describes the forest at Mill Woods as "a jewel in Wethersfield's crown."

The park can be thought of in much the same way.  It still remains as I.M. Soldonit described it sixty-seven years ago - "a piece of property.... that less fortunate towns would spend a mil to acquire".
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The Griswoldville Preservation Association

Wethersfield Summers by Dr. Tom Gworek [Online]
Available, http://www.wethersfieldhistory.org/articles-from-the-community/wethersfield-summers/

Groswoldville Connecticut (1680-1987) [Online]
Available, http://www.wethersfieldhistory.org/articles-from-the-community/griswoldville-connecticut-1680-1987/

Minutes of the Wethersfield Advisory Recreation and Park Board
?Wethersfield Parks and Recreation Department

Master Plan of Mill Woods Park
Wethersfield Parks and Recreation Department

Mill Woods Pool 50th Anniversary Scrapbook
Wethersfield Parks and Recreation Department

Mill Woods Park Scrapbook
Wethersfield Parks and Recreation Department

"Plan of A Residence Suburb Wethersfield Connecticut", 1928?

Wethersfield Historical Society??Town of Wethersfield Annual Report - 1953?
Wethersfield Historical Society

Wethersfield Post
Wethersfield Historical Society??

Historical Hartford Courant (1923-1984) ?[Online]
Available, http://www.cslib.org/newspapers/

??Hartford Courant (1992-current)  ?[Online]
Available, http://www.cslib.org/newspapers/

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